[quote=Paris Blues]I know you would have to make vows on chasity, poverty and obiedience, right? Could anyone who knows more stuff on this give me more an idea what each one means in more detail? I mean, I know what they mean and all but I don’t know all the details!
Also, how do I know which kind to be? Poor clare, carmelite, etc? What’s the difference and what do they do?
I was once a novice in a religious order so I hope I can help.
There are two different vows of poverty - solemn vows and simple vows. Solemn vows of poverty means you must give up everything before you take perpetual vows. You may not own anything.
Simple vows mean you may own things but you may not use them. Whatever you own - property, goods, stocks, bank accounts - is put into a patrimony. This patrimony is overseen by someone you appoint. You may not draw any money from stocks or bank account or use any property or goods. Basically, if you own it, you can’t use it. If you use it, you can’t own it.
Whether you take simple or solemn vows depends on the order you join. I was in an order that took simple vows. The Poor Clares take solemn vows like the Franciscans. The Jesuits take simple vows. Carmelites also take solemn vows.
Chastity and obedience mean just that - you must be chaste and obedient. Religious orders usually state in their constitutions that the will of God is accomplished through obedience to superiors. Turning your will over completely to another person isn’t easy, but it’s very pleasing to God.
Chastity is best accomplished through prayer. The more you pray, the better you are at obeying your superiors and the more you are detached from the things of this world, the easier it is to live chastity. My novice master told us we live chastity because we are chaste for Christ. We give up the rightful use of these faculties to Christ so we can live entirely for Him.
Different religious orders have different charisms. Poor Clares live poverty like their Franciscan counterparts. Carmelites are contemplatives and cloistered. Being cloistered means you have extremely limited contact with the outside world, sometimes none at all. There is a Carmelite Monastery in suburban Des Plaines that has the Tridentine Mass every first Saturday. The Carmelite nuns sing at the Mass behind a wall with some windows. We can’t see their faces, but we can see their habits as the go to receive communion. They receive communion without being seen by anyone except the priest.
I hope I have been some assistance. It takes too long to go into everything in detail, but this should give you an idea of what to consider when looking at a religious order. You’re in my prayers.